Manaus – Greenpeace Brazil has captured new photos of fires devastating the Amazon during a flyover carried out between 16 to 21 August 2020. The images show widespread destruction across the rainforest, including in protected areas, despite the Brazilian government’s order to ban fires in the region since July 16.
See images of the fires here.
“While President Bolsonaro keeps denying the Amazon is on fire and coming up with marketing stunts, such as deploying the army to combat forest destruction, the forest continues to burn. The fires are not only a threat to climate and biodiversity, the smoke from the fires adds another threat to the health of people living in a country already strained by the COVID-19 crisis. The impacts of these two crises combined could be devastating, especially for vulnerable groups, like Indigenous People and traditional communities,” says Rômulo Batista, Amazon campaigner at Greenpeace Brazil.
According to INPE (Brazil’s space agency), 29.308 fire hotspots were registered in August, the second-highest rate in the past 10 years. However, due to technical issues in mid-August in the NASA satellite used to gather official data on the daily number of fire hotspots, the actual damage can be even worse. The state of Amazonas registered the highest number of hotspots in history (8.031). In the state of Pará, 68% of the hotspots are concentrated within the area of 4 municipalities, the same ones that own 19% of all cattle in the state, according to the Brazilian census (IBGE).
“The fires in the Amazon are not natural. They are criminally set by farmers and land-grabbers to tear the forest down in order to expand the agribusiness. What we’ve seen in the field is a consequence of Bolsonaro’s anti-environmental agenda, who has been dismantling environmental protections, since he took office,” continues Batista.
The exploitation of nature and people is a major cause of the current health, climate and biodiversity crises. Greenpeace is demanding governments and companies to end business with forest destroyers, drastically reduce meat and dairy and align trade to support resilient economies that put nature and people first.
1. According to a report released on August 26 by Human Rights Watch, “fires resulting from unchecked deforestation are poisoning the air millions of people breathe, affecting health throughout the Brazilian Amazon”.
2. An official note from the Brazilian National Institute for Space Research on the technical issues with the NASA satellite can be found here (in Portuguese).
Photos and videos of the Amazon fires here.
Rebecca Cesar, press officer, Greenpeace Brazil, +55 11 95640 0443, [email protected]
Greenpeace International Press Desk, +31 (0)20 718 2470 (available 24 hours), [email protected]